On 2005-06-19, Vincent wrote:Paul K: “The experience of gaming is too complex—and allows for too many interpretations—to serve as a drill or training exercise. But it’s precisely through drills and training exercises that a person learns to master their craft.”
I taught myself to cook. It took, oh, about five years to get consistent, and another two or three to get any good at it. I didn’t have any (live) instructors, I just read dozens of cookbooks, cooked hundreds of meals, and ate critically whenever I ate. I didn’t drill, as such.
It seems to me that you can teach yourself game design the same way.
There’s something Paul non-K is getting at that nobody should dismiss, but I don’t think that any of us have managed to articulate it yet. There comes a moment where you stop thinking about “how does this rule work?” and you start thinking about “how are people going to relate to this rule?” You develop a sense, like developing a taste in cooking, you develop a sense for what rules people are going to relate to well, vs. what rules people are going to relate to as intrusions, what rules are going to seem too fiddly or vulgar or dull, even if they work.
Lots of appretice-work games have this quality where the rules work, but they aren’t, y’know, sweet. They leave you going “yeah, that worked okay, but I bet there’s a more tasty way to do it…”